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Choosing to be Perennials

Choosing to be Perennials

Several weeks ago, the Australian Prime Minister announced that international travel would likely remain on hold until mid-2022. I don’t have a tremendous amount of confidence in such a statement—as my friend, a fellow immigrant to Australia, reminded me recently, the forecast for the future is ever changing.  And yet, to consider for a moment that it could be true, that we could go another year without going home to the U.S. or having family come here, feels devastating. COVID…

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Plum Harvest

Plum Harvest

I grasp the tree branches, hoisting myself with one grunting pull up into the leaves. Cobwebs cling to my hair and face, dead branches scrape at my arms. We haven’t yet added a ladder to our household items. Snapping off some of the dead branches around me, I survey the plums. Branches sag with the weight of clusters of fruit—in threes, fours, and fives, all plump and purple, dull with orchard dust.  I begin to pluck. Most give easily at…

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This is My Body, Given for you

This is My Body, Given for you

An Easter reflection on sacrifice and women’s bodies As his death approaches, Jesus pauses to celebrate a meal with his disciples. Breaking the bread, he declares, “This is my body, which is given for you” (Lk 22:19). With these words, Jesus gives context and meaning to what is about to happen to him. His death, though senseless and incomprehensible as it will seem to his friends, is a sacrifice—an offering of himself for the world.  Later, the apostles interpret Jesus’…

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Safety in the Household of Faith

Safety in the Household of Faith

Recently, in an essay for Soul Tread magazine, I explored the way in which Scripture describes the church as a family, and some of the significance of that for believers. Since I sent it off for publication, I’ve been thinking more about this idea of the church as a family, and about my denomination in particular. The RPCNA (Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America), and now the RPCA (Reformed Presbyterian Church of Australia), have been pivotal in my own experience…

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Parting with Tradition

Parting with Tradition

December has arrived, and with it the full onslaught of Christmas preparations. Our house is decorated; now I’m turning my attention to the holiday baking, gift-buying, and end-of-the-year and holiday events. Here in Australia, I’m soberly grateful that we are moving into a “COVID-normal” summer. Still, things are not the same as previous years—and I know that is even more true for many others around the world. Longing and lament fill my news feeds as people react to the many…

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Costly Stewardship: A review of Stewards of Eden

Costly Stewardship: A review of Stewards of Eden

As a transplant from the U.S.A. to Australia, I have spent the past three years trying to acclimate to my new home. In the process, I’ve felt increasingly convicted about my distance from the creation. Facing so many new plants, animals, and habitats that were unknown to me, I realized how little I had known of my previous home. Along with doing my best to know and name the world around me, I’ve also eagerly sought guides to understanding what…

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The Body’s Posture of Gratitude: A Thanksgiving Day meditation

The Body’s Posture of Gratitude: A Thanksgiving Day meditation

We usually talk about gratitude and thankfulness as mental practices: we call to mind the good things that we have received, and we try to see in our troubles good in disguise. Gratitude is a feeling and a mindset that we must intentionally cultivate. Yet, in a year when so much of our experiences have been physically limited as virtual events have replaced face-to-face activities, I wonder what the relationship is between gratitude and our bodies? Matthew Lee Anderson, in…

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No Better Gift: The Friendship of Sayers and Lewis

No Better Gift: The Friendship of Sayers and Lewis

In the past year, two writers who made a significant impression on my younger self have pushed back into view: C.S. Lewis and Dorothy L. Sayers. Through the excellent work of the Rabbit Room and the Anselm Society, I’ve been reminded of Lewis’ imagination and the crucial way it resists a modern and secular society shorn of transcendence. And through a friend who is diving into Sayer’s works, I’ve appreciated again her insistence on Christian art being worthy of the…

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Surrender in a time of COVID

Surrender in a time of COVID

This year, one marked by radically reshaped ministry, work, and everyday life, I’ve found myself in a near-constant stance of resistance. I’m resisting the changes that have descended on us so suddenly, the way we have been cut off from the people and the places we love, and forced to mediate much of our interactions through screens. You won’t find me at any protests against COVID restrictions, but my heart is protesting all the same — I do not want…

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Formed by Lament

Formed by Lament

“Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;Lord, hear my voice.Let your ears be attentiveto my cry for mercy.” Psalm 130:1-2 What can we call the year 2020 if not a year of grief? So much heaviness and turmoil, so much to bring to God in prayer. America is not unique in its suffering; the pandemic has touched all inhabited continents and almost every country. Injustice and violence, which have boiled over in America this year, are a daily…

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